News Article



Methamphetamine (Speed and Ice): What You Should Know

Methamphetamine is a stimulant, one of the amphetamine group of drugs manufactured from readily available chemicals. Stimulants speed up the function of the brain and nervous system.

Forms of Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine is available in three different forms commonly known as speed, base and ice but they differ in their purity. Ice is about 80% pure, whereas speed is typically around 10-20% pure. People have been known to have serious mental and physical difficulties after using a lot of ice.

Speed: Speed usually comes in the form of white or yellow powder, but can also be bought as pills. People either sniff it through the nose (snort it), inject it or swallow it in tablet or capsule form. Speed is also known as go-ee, whiz, rev and uppers. People who sell speed often mix or cut the powder with other things that look the same, to make the drug go further. Some mixedin substances can have unpleasant or harmful effects. It is difficult to tell what the drug actually contains.

Base: Base is a damp or oily substance with a white to yellow or brown colour which is more pure than powder. It can vary a lot in its appearance and is also known as pure, paste and wax. Base is usually injected but sometimes swallowed. It isn’t commonly used in Australia.

Ice: Ice is the purest form of methamphetamine available in Australia. It usually looks like colourless to white crystals or a coarse crystal-like powder, but it can also appear in other colours. Ice is also called crystal, crystal meth, meth or shabu. Ice is usually smoked or injected. A drug that is smoked or injected enters the brain more quickly which creates a “rush” that many people find very difficult to resist repeating. This is why some people think it is “more addictive”. Ice is also sniffed through the nose (snorted), swallowed or inserted into the anus (shafted). All forms of ingestion can have a physical and mental impact, including dependence.

Because of its purity, ice is more powerful than speed and base and when used puts a greater strain on the body. Its use can therefore be much more dangerous. It has stronger side effects and a worse comedown. During a ‘comedown’, the user may feel physically and emotionally drained. Some users may experience a ‘crash’ – negative feelings associated with coming down.

Variations in the methamphetamine structure also produce other drugs such as MDMA (methylene dioxy methamphetamine) or ecstasy.